By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
How to Experience Happiness.
Do you have trouble feeling happy? This should be easy right? You would think there is nothing you should have to do to feel happy. Doesn’t it seem as if we should be able to find something, some experience that would make us happy? Then why are so many people looking and so few finding happiness?
The truth is that some of us don’t know happiness when we have it. Pain is easy to find and we always know unhappiness when we see it but happiness, well that is harder to be sure about. One minute it is there and the next it is gone.
In a past post, Why can’t we forget the painful past, I wrote about the reasons it is easier to remember pain than happiness. Remembering pain has an evolutionary value. It keeps us from making the same mistake over and over. You would think that happiness and pleasure should have the same evolutionary advantage, reminding us to do pleasant things over and over.
Pleasure seems to be rewarding. People will repeat behaviors to get more pleasure even when these actions are destructive. Things like addiction, behavioral excess, overspending, and risky sexual activities are all temporarily rewarding even when they don’t result in long-term happiness.
Sharp emotions like pleasure and pain arrive quickly and unannounced. Some feelings are softer and gentler. Feelings like happiness and contentment swell up softly and slowly from our unconscious.
If you want more happiness you need to cultivate the experience of watching for its appearance and you need to look for it. Happiness is not a pushy emotion. It doesn’t force its way into your heart. It waits to be noticed and invited.
Did you ever go looking for a particular style of car, maybe a van or a hatchback? Before you begin your search you didn’t see many of that model. Once you look, they are everywhere.
Happiness is like that. We need to consciously search for it.
Did you look for that car you wanted in the big box store or a department store? No of course not. You looked in places where that model of car might be sold.
So why do we look for happiness by chasing after short-term pleasure or running from pain? Happiness is the result of facing our troubles. It is also the direct product of acceptance. If we are never content with what we have, if we are always chasing more, then happiness gets passed by.
The allusion that if we catch pleasure we will be happy traps many. How easy it is to chase pleasure through the thicket of thorns. If we would just stand still and notice what we have perhaps the butterfly of happiness will land on our outstretched hand.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!
My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.
Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.
Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.
As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.
Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.
Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.
Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.
What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?
Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller
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